Helping hand for Tioman’s corals
> ‘Nursery tables’ placed to encourage reef growth
TIOMAN: Despite challenges in preserving corals, Berjaya Group continues to play its part in restoring them, with some 170 divers taking part in the annual Tioman Island Clean-Up Day programme recently.
Mooted by Berjaya Group founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan six years ago, the three-day event this year began on Oct 21.
Berjaya Tioman Resort general manager Sonny Gan said there were many challenges in executing efforts to preserve the island’s marine environment.
He said caring for the environment is a vital part of the legacy instilled by Tan.
“The biggest challenge had always been the human factor, because people have different attitudes and education levels.
“There is also the environmental aspect. With the monsoon seasons and big waves, corals can be destroyed. This year, we employed an environmental officer to oversee these issues,” he said.
Gan added that coral conservation is made harder as the process of growing them is very slow and requires patience.
This year’s event, themed “Together for Planet Earth”, saw the placing of six “coral nursery tables” to encourage the growth of reefs.
The divers, from Malaysia and Singapore, also scoured the ocean to remove the crown of thorns starfish (which destroy corals), and planted new corals.
Representatives from Reef Check, Shark Savers and the Department of Marine Park were also present.
Gan said studies were being conducted on the possibility of making the programme an international event to create awareness on the importance of coral preservation.
Last year, Berjaya embarked on a RM200,000 “Shelter in the Sea” project, which saw the laying 67 concrete pipes on the seabed between the Berjaya Tioman Resort Dive Centre and Renggis Island, off Johor.
Tan, who was present then, donned a wet suit to personally witness the laying of the pipes, and said he hoped the structures would encourage coral growth, protect marine life and enhance diving activities.
Divers ‘seeding’ a coral nursery during the three-day initiative from Oct 21-23.